'Go tell the Spartans, Passerby, That here, obedient to their laws, we lie' Thus did the poet Simonides remember the three hundred elite Spartan warriors who, led by their king, Leonidas, faced the vast, inrushing Persian army at the hot gates of Thermopylae and fought to the death for an ideal dearer to them than life itself the ideal of freedom. Paul Cartledges offers a compelling re-examination of this crucial moment in history, a epic clash of civilizations that helped shape the identity of Classical Greece and our own cultural heritage. Our greatest living expert on Sparta tells the story of that fearsome citys finest hour. The result is a book that wonderfully demonstrates the capacity of profound scholarship to thrill, to move and to inspire Tom Holland, author of Rubicon and Persian Fire The world's leading authority on ancient Sparta Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph

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